[svlug] Re: Open Source Criticism Questions

Jeffrey Siegal jbs at quiotix.com
Wed Aug 20 18:26:10 PDT 2003

Richard Sharpe wrote:
> On Wed, 20 Aug 2003, Daniel Howard wrote:
>>>Is that really a free ride?  On a value-for-price
>>>basis, it is impossible for open source software to
>>>be a bad deal.  Not so for most Microsoft products,
>>>which can't even be returned for a refund if you use
>>>it for a while and decide you don't like it.
>>A reasonable argument, I think.  I disagree but don't
>>think that it is worth arguing over.
> Actually, I disagree, and do think it is worth arguing over.
> Take Samba, for example.
> It is a great piece of software, but it ought to be clear to people that 
> it is not in the same ease of use category that the products a lot of 
> people use it to replace.
> However, given that lots of people do use it to replace various versions 
> of Windows, and that a number of NAS companies use it, as does SCO (plan 
> to ship Samba 3), and I see more and more emails about attempts to migrate 
> from Windows to UNIX with Samba, there must be something to it.
> But, since you need more skills to set it up than what a lot of Windows 
> requires, there can be a comparison made there, and several people on the 
> Samba team agonize over making it easier to use OOTB.

It isn't clear to me how that disgrees with what I wrote above.

On a value-for-price basis, since the price is zero, if it has any value 
at all, its a good deal.  It might not be *as* good a deal as some other 
solution, or as good a deal as you'd like, but it really can't be a 
*bad* deal.

It is for that reason I think unqualified negative reviews (or flaming 
the developers) are simply inappropriate for open source software.  If 
it doesn't have value for you, just don't use it.  Problem solved.  If 
it has some value to you, but not as much as you would like, too bad. 
You got a free lunch and now you want a free dessert too?

(Not so for commercial software, where you might spend $X (or, more 
seriously, X thousands of dollars) and then simply have something that 
doesn't work, or not solve your problem.  And no recourse.

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